Palliative Care, My Prayer

She broke her hip at 98 years old.
Doctor says the only option is surgery.

I pray for the day Palliative care is an integral part of the medical community.

“No, I’m too old, I don’t want surgery.”
Dr. says “It is an easy 45 minute surgery and we’ll have you up tomorrow.”

I pray for the day medical schools train all doctors in the art of dying as well as keeping patients alive “at all costs.”

We reluctantly agree.
She never gets out of bed again, waking every 3-4 hours with extreme pain.

I pray for the day patients in acute pain will be automatically put on scheduled pain medication without staff waiting for family to ask for it.

Three days after surgery, the Dr. calls requesting permission to tube feed her.
Her DNR, next to her bed, clearly states no “medically assisted nutrition by tube.”

I pray for the day medical staff will respect the patient’s DNR and follow it without first consulting family.

Seven days after surgery she is placed in the only Hospice House in our city.
For the first time we feel relief, she will be kept pain-free and comfortable.

I pray for the day people my age and younger will demand Palliative care as part of patient care.

Seven days later she transitions with family by her side.
These were sacred times in the quiet room of a Hospice House.

I pray that Palliative care is an accepted and expected part of the medical profession by the time I may need it.





2 thoughts on “Palliative Care, My Prayer

  1. I love this article Ardine. You have touched upon an area of life that most people do not feel comfortable discussing and yet it is one of the most critical aspects of life’s journey. We have been conditioned to push the deathing process away as far as possible, rather than to see it as part of our spirit’s continuous journey. I had the blessed opportunity to spend two months with one of my brother’s final phase to his journey on this plane at a hospice center in Albuquerque. The care he received and the love and attention were phenomenal. The staff was inclusive of all family members and Jimmy’s journey was such a comforting and peaceful one. I, too, pray that palliative care becomes a more common mode of helping people in their last stages of life. Thank you for bringing this issue to the forefront.


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